A Voice for Syria’s Victims of Torture: Dr. Hala Ghawi

Dr. Ghawi is pictured above, speaking with a man who was arrested and tortured by Syrian authorities. His father, who was arrested with him, was still missing as of May 2018.

“Members of my family were arrested and abused by the Assad regime, and many of my colleagues lost their lives under torture simply because they were carrying out their humanitarian duty. I have committed myself to this work, because it might someday help bring justice to the survivors and their families. Building peace in Syria cannot happen without justice, and, by documenting these cases, I can play a role in rebuilding Syrian society.” Dr. Hala Ghawi

When war broke out in Syria and medical facilities came under attack, surgeon Hala Ghawi began providing care in secret field hospitals – which made her a target for government forces. Her husband, also a doctor, was arrested, imprisoned, and tortured. Dr. Ghawi and her family fled to Jordan, where she was trained in forensic documentation by PHR and began documenting cases of torture and sexual violence among the Syrian refugees she worked with. A key PHR partner and recipient of the 2016 Physicians for Human Rights Award, Dr. Ghawi is now a women’s protection and empowerment consultant in Gazientep, Türkiye, and continues to document evidence of the war crimes being committed every day in her country.

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